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  • Jean-Antoine Watteau
Fêtes Vénitiennes
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Fêtes Vénitiennes 1718 - 1719
This is a very fine example of the 'fêtes galantes' perfected by Watteau. He included himself as the seated musician playing a musette. The central dancer may be the leading actress Charlotte Desmares, who was mistress of the Duc d'Orleans. Her male dancing partner is Nicolas Vleughels, a Flemish painter, who was Watteau's friend and landlord. The painting may contain a private meaning enjoyed by the two artists. The other figures are based on drawings Watteau made from his direct observations of contemporary society. The painting acquired its present title from an engraving made after it, published in 1732.

Glossary Open

Engraving

The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.

Fête galante

A type of painting developed by Antoine Watteau, in which exquisitely dressed young people idle away time in dreamy, romantic settings. Such subjects were adopted by Watteau's followers in early 18th century France, though without the melancholic aspect often found in his work.

Engraving, Fête galante

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 439
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 55.90 x 45.70 cm (framed: 89.50 x 76.20 x 12.70 cm)
  • Credit Bequest of Lady Murray of Henderland 1861